No. 18 Stanford women’s field hockey (9-5, 5-1 America East) closed out its final home stand of the season with two wins against conference opponents. The Cardinal dominated UC Davis (4-11, 0-4) with a 6-1 win on Friday night – their highest goal mark of the season – and shut out Cal (4-10, 1-3) 2-0 on Sunday afternoon to secure head coach Tara Danielson’s 50th win at Varsity Turf.
Coming off a 1-0 loss last week against conference-rival Pacific, Stanford needed to make a statement this weekend in order to shore up the top rank in the America East conference. Friday night saw Stanford control the game from the start, scoring in the fifth minute off a penalty corner goal by senior defender Fran Tew.
“We’ve been practicing corners really hard this week just because it’s an easy goal if we can get it in and execute right,” said Tew.
Stanford did just that. The team would score two more goals off penalty corners before the game’s end, one by freshman attacker Jessica Welch, the team’s leading goal scorer, in the ninth minute and again off Tew’s rebound shot in the second half, tying her career-high mark of two goals.
The second half was particularly dominant. The Cardinal put up 14 shots while stifling the Aggies on defense. Continuous offensive pressure ensured that Davis could not sustain momentum.
Just minutes after Tew’s second goal of the night, sophomore defender Emma Christus took a powerful shot from the top of the circle to score her first career goal. A little while later, senior attacker Kristina Bassi joined the action, scoring after a nimble move around her defender. That wouldn’t be the end of the onslaught, as junior attacked Katie Keyser scored off a rebound before the end of the half to close out the win.
“What you saw tonight was just a really good team performance, and it reflected good structure, good commitment to each other, good communication all over the field,” said Danielson, “It was just a really solid team effort.”
With high energy from the big team win, the Cardinal hoped to carry that momentum into their game against Cal on Sunday. The previous time the two teams met required two overtimes and a penalty shootout before Stanford edged out a win.
The first half brought strong possession from the Cardinal. The team put up 11 shots, keeping up an aggressive attack that kept Cal on its heels. Despite the numerous opportunities, however, Stanford couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the net, and the half ended scoreless.
Stanford’s defense remained strong in the second half as the Bears came out shooting. Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Bing continued her great rookie season, fending off the Bears’ attack on her way t0 recording her fourth shutout of the year.
With sustained pressure, Stanford finally broke through in the 58th minute. A diving assist by fifth-year senior attacker Lucy Dikeou set up the game-winning goal scored by Keyser. Tew continued her dominant weekend as she tacked on an insurance goal in the 68th minute.
Stanford heads to the Midwest next week for a final tuneup before the NCAA Tournament. With back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday against Northwestern and Michigan State, the Cardinal will seek to close out their regular season on a high note. Saturday’s match will be played at noon in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Sunday’s will begin at 11 a.m. in East Lansing, Michigan.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.